The reigning WorldSSP Champion moves up to the factory team in WorldSBK for next season, with the team set to have an average age of just 24
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship line-up has been shaken up further ahead of the final round of the 2020 season, with reigning World Supersport Champion Andrea Locatelli graduating to the class with the PATA Yamaha team. The Italian sensation dominated the 2020 World Supersport Championship, accumulating the most wins in a season in WorldSSP history and has been rewarded with a step-up to the blue-ribband class and will partner Toprak Razgatlioglu, making it the youngest factory team in WorldSBK for 2021.
Locatelli was a podium-achiever in Moto3™ Grand Prix World Championship and top six finisher in the Moto2™ class too, before he moved across to World Supersport in 2020. Taking six straight pole positions and ten consecutive wins, Locatelli eventually wrapped the Championship up with another win in Race 2 at Catalunya and now after just a year in the class, Yamaha will bring the 23-year-old into WorldSBK, announced just four days before his 24th birthday.
Speaking about the deal, Locatelli expressed his happiness: "I’m very proud and thankful to start this new adventure with Yamaha, it’s an important step for me after a great first year in the WorldSBK paddock. Thanks to Eric de Seynes, President of Yamaha Europe, Road Racing Manager Andrea Dosoli and Pata Yamaha Team Principal Paul Denning for trusting in me.”
Confirming he’ll be working with Michael van der Mark’s current crew chief Andrew Pitt, Locatelli is keen to get started: “I’m very excited to start working with the new team and my new crew chief Andrew Pitt, he’s a two-time world champion and has done a great job with Pata Yamaha. I’m also really looking forward to getting testing started, it’ll be the first time riding the Yamaha R1 for me and I can’t wait to get my preparations for the 2021 season underway."
Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe’s Road Racing Manager, said: “Yamaha Motor Europe is very excited to introduce this young and exciting rider line-up for the 2021 WorldSBK season. Obviously, this year we bid farewell to Michael van der Mark, who has made a significant contribution to Yamaha's WorldSBK program since joining us in 2017 and whom we wish all the best for the future.
“Replacing him we have a promising young talent in Andrea Locatelli, who was already a part of the Yamaha family. What he’s achieved in WorldSSP this year is incredible and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can achieve alongside Toprak Razgatlıoğlu in the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team next year.”
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